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Willow Whistle

By John I. Blair

In spring the sand-bar willows
Sprout lanceolate leaves
And comfort all the creeks
With misty green.

From this-year growth
My Dad would cut
An eight-inch chunk of stem,
Tap the bark along its length
Until it slipped away intact,
Slice a strip,
Then shape a notch.

The bark slid back in place,
Hed coax a piercing note
By blowing softly in the end.

On this reflective day
I remember his warm breath,
His careful hands, his need
To share this craft,
This beauty with his sons,
Although he was so deaf
He barely heard the sound.

2007 John I. Blair


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